Along with the Stellia, the aesthetic impact for which rapidly went from “WTF?!” in print to “HF!” in person, another Focal surprise was the Arche … which turned out to be excellent (and WAY better than I expected):
A fair bit of Campfire Audio Drama here and here to go along with the release of the Campfire Audio IO, Campfire Audio Polaris V2, Campfire Audio Andromeda V3 and the special edition Andromeda Black Gold and Solaris.
RAAL-Requisite released the SR1a and this forum happens to have the most traffic’d thread on the internet for it thanks in no small part to @Torq This did not happen in 2019 and has been sent back to 2018 where it belongs.
I think it’s important to acknowledge the amazing arms race happening in entry / mid level amplification:
Drop THX AAA 789
Monolith AAA 887
SMSL SP200 THX AAA 888
JDS Labs EL AMP II / EL DAC II / ELEMENT II
Especially the first 3 are absolute game changers with the amount of clarity and distortion free linear power that they provide at their price points. In fact, knowing that my 789 is so capable gave me confidence to order a TOTL headphone. Otherwise, I would always have this feeling that I am missing out until I get equally good amplification.
I suspect there are many others who are looking to explore the high end precisely because of these amps.